When we lose someone we love there’s a chance that denial will kick in. Rationalizing the overwhelming emotions may become a defense mechanism meant to deal with the shock, whether it’s a sudden death or an expected one.
For some, isolation may be the best way to block out the facts and truth of the situation. When I first found out about Matt’s death, I definitely went through denial and it lasted for an extended period of time. The initial shock of hearing that I had lost him is difficult for me to explain because it shattered my heart and depended on facts that I just couldn’t accept.
Having to call close friends after I found out he died was beyond hard; I honestly don’t think I stopped crying at all that day. That night when I found out all the details surrounding the cause of his death is when I threw myself into denial completely.
The extent of my knowledge was that Matthew hadn’t ever touched a drug. I guess he just figured that since I trusted him so much, I wouldn’t ask questions and find out. So hearing that he died from that…I didn’t believe it. I remember screaming a lot and just saying “No, Matt wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that.” I was trying to rationalize and say that, “It wasn’t our Matt that night he wouldn’t ever do that,” and “It wasn’t his decision, the person he was with made him do it.”
I put myself in a state of denial and tried rationalizing Matt out of the situation for a long time. Even now, I keep blaming someone else because I can’t bring myself to place the blame on Matt for what was a mistake on one night. It’s difficult for me to accept that there are still pieces of that night that I won’t ever know; that there are questions I’ll never get answers to.
It took a lot of persuading from people for me to face reality — Matt had lied to me for a while about smoking weed. No one bothered to tell me that he had been smoking and the lies got to me, eventually it’s what made me feel the need to become isolated from almost everyone. I was just in so much shock and just unbelievably hurt by Matt for lying and for hurting me so badly, and at everyone else who knew but never bothered to mention it to me.
There’s something about the initial shock of a loss and all that encompasses it that has the potential to fill your mind with negative ideas and thoughts. I know that I experienced this and was faced with a mix of bad days and better days. The important thing for me was to surround myself with people who loved me, cared about me and made supporting me a priority. This time also taught me that it’s about striking a balance between surrounding yourself with people and carving out time for yourself. I value the time I get to myself to think and sort through my emotions.
Distraction was also key for me; it helped me not dwell on all the negative thoughts.
Someone really important in my life once told me, “The pain you feel in your heart isn’t your heart breaking, it’s your heart opening up to let more of Matthew in.”
The thought has stuck with me and carried me through the darkest moments.